The Challenges Of Managing A Hospitality Workforce

Anyone in charge of a hospitality venture will be the first to tell you that it's not always smooth sailing.

Service is the heart of hospitality. Whether you run a cafe, bar, pub, hotel or a larger-scale hospitality venture, there are two universal factors that contribute directly to your service level:

  • Footfall
  • Staffing

Footfall can be incredibly variable, depending on everything from seasonal changes and school dates to how the weather is looking on any particular day. And consequently, a requirement for staffing levels may also go through huge fluctuations based on seasonal changes and semesters.

You might have a core of seasoned staff members, but many hospitality workers are transient, passing through the industry between careers and school holidays. You might have just trained a solid team when one, two or more of your workers decides to quit, leaving you and your remaining workers to struggle on reduced numbers.

The hospitality industry is fast-paced and you need to deliver each and every moment. So what can you do to better provision your service, without overspending, and yet making sure the have the right team around you?


Anticipating the factors that will influence footfall and staffing is the single best way of preparing for peaks and troughs in business. As a business owner, you are likely to have a strong set of expectations already about what the primary factors are for your particular business, enabling you to know what you need to do to prepare, whether they bring more footfall or impact your staffing levels. You know how important it is to manage your team efficiently without impacting on the service that is at the heart of your business model.

We know some of the reasons you see fluctuations, maybe you can easily think of a few more?

Weather. Bad weather drives footfall inside. If you own a coffee shop or restaurant, a grey morning is a clear indicator that you may well be in for a busy day as the shopping public race indoors to sit out rain with a coffee or light lunch.

Similarly, we flock to bars and beer gardens at the first glimpse of a little sun. Pub owners know to expect huge increases in footfall on the first hot days of the year, and sunny Saturday afternoons. Chilled beers and icy drinks will be the order of the day, potentially putting great strain on service levels.

Do you have the ability to scale your team as you need when the weather changes?

School holidays. Half-term is a typically busy period for hospitality businesses. Family trips bring hordes of children and their exhausted parents out for lunches, dinners or pit-stops at your cafe.

This includes Bank Holidays and other public holidays, when parents are off work and children home from school. Knowing these dates takes little effort and may give you the edge you need to prepare for busy service.

University dates. If your workforce is comprised of students, you might find yourself well-staffed over the summer – until everyone leaves in September and October for university. If you have spent the last three
months training them, this can be frustrating knowing that not only might you be losing good talent, but you have to go through it again.

Students represent a font of hospitality workers, but considering semesters and term dates should be key when hiring and investing in these high-turnover workers.

Seasonal changes. Seasonal changes incorporate fluctuations in both footfall and staffing, making them one of the biggest indicators when managing your service. Fortunately, they are easily prepared for. Changes in season are typically marked by lengthy holidays. Think about how much traffic this will bring you and your business, and whether your staffing can cope.

Seasons are also closely related to term dates. If you’re anticipating every man and his dog to swing by for a cold pint next month, make sure you’re workforce isn’t about to up and leave for the end of university.

When it comes to anticipating footfall, preparation is your best friend. Know the dates, check the skies and jot down public holidays to make sure you know what is happening when.

Staffing can be more challenging to manage, however.


The typically part-time and volatile nature of hospitality work can make managing your existing workforce problematic, with communication channels often limited to shifts scrawled on notepaper, or a roster pinned to a wall. The high staff turnover means recruitment is also a constant chore, draining time and resources as you search for appropriate workers to replace those who have left.

Something so influential to your service and your business should not be so difficult or time-consuming. There should be a better way to work. So what can you do to make hiring and managing your hospitality workers easier?

WorkGaps is an innovative recruitment and management platform specifically designed for part-time and temporary jobs. Your WorkGaps will automatically match your vacancies to relevant workers, based on mutual skills and work interests, saving you hours trawling through traditional recruitment methods. Invite the best to interview and take it from there! You control the process and only ever pay if you’re successful.


Once hired, you can manage your whole team through WorkGaps. Those last minute shift changes you used to agonise over? Not a problem. Log in, make the changes, and your workers will be instantly notified via their phone or tablet. Need to chat with one of your workers about their holidays? Drop them a message. If a worker calls in sick, you can replace them easily and quickly by posting a job advert or emailing another reliable worker for cover.

If your catering work is remote, workers can use their WorkGaps profile to check in, confirming their shift start and end times. You can track payments owed, allowing simple processing on confirmation of agreed work, removing a lot of the hassle of paperwork and messaging to your team.

Hospitality will always be an industry of peaks and troughs. There is no accurate accounting for how busy a service might be. But by anticipating customer trends and establishing a reliable workforce management system, you can prepare yourself and your business for whatever the day’s trade throws at you, safe in the certainty that your service – and your profits – are benefitting.

To register your interest in this exciting work revolution, sign up to WorkGaps as a Hirer here. The better way to work.

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